Danny Burnell – @dannyburnell_92
With the visit of Dover just days away, I take a look at a classic encounter between the two at the Crabble back in 2017.
Dover Athletic 1-2 Torquay United
Saturday 22nd April 2017 – 15.00 KO
Venue: The Crabble
Team: Moore, Gallifuoco, McGinty, Anderson, Rowe-Turner, Lee, Verma, Young, Reid, Keating, Williams
Subs: Harrad, Lathrope, Gerring, Sparkes, Chaney
Goals: TU: Williams 43, 68
DA: Thomas 71
The situation was desperate. With just two games left of the season, the Gulls were languishing firmly within the relegation zone and at serious risk of being relegated to the National League South for the first time in the club’s history. Two of Torquay, Braintree, York, Guiseley, Solihull & Woking knew they would join Southport & North Ferriby in the dreaded drop if points weren’t achieved, and fast!
Torquay gave themselves and the fans real believe they could pull off yet another great escape, when just 5 days earlier, on Easter Monday, they produced a 3-1 win over Braintree in the MOTHER of 6 pointers. United had previously slipped to a 2-1 defeat on Good Friday to champions elect, Lincoln, but a Brett Williams double and Jordan Lee strike secured a valuable win over ‘The Iron’ to go to within 1 point of both them & York, going into the final 2 games.
Table as at 21st April 2017
So, the Gulls travelled to Kent, knowing only a win would suffice and keep their survival chances alive. Dover by contrast, were 6th and just outside the play-off’s, knowing it would likely be either themselves or Aldershot clinching that last play-off place. If Torquay were going to survive, they were going to have to battle hard for it.
As an expectant home crowd gathered, a fairly drab match fired into life, when on 43 minutes, Bournemouth loanee, Jordan Lee, clipped a delightful ball into the box were it was met at the penalty spot by the powering head of talisman Brett Williams, to give the Gulls a 1-0 lead going into the break. Nicholson’s team talk was well and truly altered.
United started the second half on the front foot, and finally got their reward in the 68th minute. Good defensive work from McGinty & Verma dispossessed the Dover attacker, and the ball broke to Luke Young, who, with the freedom of Kent, took the ball the best part of 60 yards, before feeding Williams who emphatically lashed home his second of the match with a left foot strike. His fourth goal in 5 days, to put the Gulls 2 up, and send the travelling Yellow Army deliriant.
Any danger of a nice relaxing last 20 minutes quickly vanished, as within 3 minutes the home side pulled one back. United failed to deal with the corner, and Dover took advantage as Aswad Thomas slotted in from close range. It was all hands to the pump defensively for the last quarter of that match, but United, with the backing of the Gulls fans, saw the game out and secured the most priceless of wins that season!
As it the result wasn’t good enough, the players headed into the dressing room to learn the news that Braintree had lost, and both Guiseley & York were held to draws. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day for the Yellows, knowing that safety was now well and truly in their hands going into the final day. That 5/6 hour coach trip back was made all the sweeter!
Table as at 23rd April 2017
On the final day, United knew a win would secure their NL status, and made fairly light work of an already relegated North Ferriby side, by running out confident 2-0 winners at Plainmoor. Verma & Anderson with the goals that day. York & Braintree were the unlucky ones, as they faced a 2017/18 season in the NLN & NLS respectively.
Relive the game below!
THE TEAM THAT DAY:
BRENDAN MOORE: The USA stopper initially signed on loan from Fleetwood in March 2016. He played the final 12 matches of the 15/16 campaign, before signing permanently in the summer. He would endure one full season at Plainmoor, as an ever present #1, before moving onto Rochdale.
Final Gulls stats: League apps: 58
GIANCARLO GALLIFUOCO: The ex-Australian defender was another to spend a solitary season at Plainmoor. After signing from A-League side Melbourne Victory in the summer of 2016, he moved on a free a year later to Dover.
Final Gulls stats: League apps: 35, League goals: 3
SEAN McGINTY: Former captain and Man Utd youth product, McGinty was an ever present from the start of the 16/17 season, to the end of the 17/18 one. He left for Partick Thistle in that summer.
Final Gulls stats: League apps: 92, League goals: 6
MYLES ANDERSON: The journeyman, signed from Barrow, lasted a year at Plainmoor, before being made surplus to requirements and moving to Chester City.
Final Gulls stats: League apps: 23, League goals: 2
LATHANIEL ROWE-TURNER: Six years after his first Gulls appearance, LRT returned to Plainmoor in August 2016.
Final Gulls stats: League apps: 81, League goals: 1
JORDAN LEE: Lee became an integral part of the team in the run of the 16/17 season. He signed on loan from Bournemouth, and returned for another spell, the following season.
Final Gulls stats: League apps: 11, League goals: 1
AMAN VERMA: The versatile midfielder initially joined on loan from Leicester, before Nicho signed him permanently. He left following the conclusion of the 16/17 season to join Tamworth.
Final Gulls stats: League apps: 64, League goals: 3
LUKE YOUNG: No introduction needed for the former Gulls captain and double POTS award winner.
Final Gulls stats: League apps: 133, League goals: 16
JAMIE REID: Very much in his ‘winger’ days, before becoming a potent and lethal striker for Torquay over the course of 5 years. 57 league goals over 4 separate spells, gave him legendary status with his tome town club.
Final Gulls stats: League apps: 163, League goals: 57
RUAIRI KEATING: The Irishman was a very popular figure in his time at Plainmoor. Signed from Finn Harps, he enjoyed 3 years at TQ1 before moving north to Gateshead.
Final Gulls stats: League apps: 107, League goals: 14
BRETT WILLIAMS: A spell at Bromley was wedged in between his time at Plainmoor. The striker’s goals were instrumental in helping United beat the drop in 2017.
Final Gulls stats: League apps: 70, League goals: 14
PLAYED FOR BOTH:
Torquay career: 2014-15, 2016
Dover career: 2015-16
Torquay career: 2013-14 (loan), 2020 (loan)
Dover career: 2020-21
Torquay career: 2016-17
Dover career: 2017-18
Last 5 H2H at Plainmoor.
17/10/20- National League: Torquay 2-0 Dover
07/10/17- National League: Torquay 0-2 Dover
27/08/16 – National League: Torquay 2-1 Dover
06/10/15 – National League: Torquay 2-3 Dover
20/09/14 – National League: Torquay 2-0 Dover
COYY – Danny